Once upon a time there was a treasure chest. It was a beautiful treasure chest, lovingly molded by the creator and placed in an inner room. It had graceful lines and a lock with a key uniquely made.
In the beginning, the treasure chest was new with freshly oiled hinges. The owner of the chest would open it frequently understanding that everything they needed to live freely was inside.
One day as the owner was excitedly preparing to open the treasure chest to enjoy its contents; a friend came along asking, “What are you doing?” The owner with a beautiful and innocent smile said, “This is my treasure chest and everything I need to live freely today is inside.” The friend said, “What? Everything you need is in this? Are you crazy? We have a big wide world out there with everything you need, you can’t store all of these things in this stupid little box!”
The owner, disappointed, closed the chest thinking, “It is a little treasure chest, I wonder if my friend is right.” The key slips inside and locks with a quiet click.
Two days go by and the owner, while listening to the friend and finding only disappointment in the wake of his announcement, opens the treasure chest secretly thinking, “Experience has taught me that the Creator of this chest has placed everything inside. I know that everything I need is here, what does my silly friend know anyway?”
So the owner returns to regularly opening the treasure chest and finding the contents needed to enjoy the day. But doubt entered in as the owner began to wonder about the contents and how they worked.
Time went by and the owner of the treasure chest invited another friend over who saw the chest and curiously asked, “What is in this box?” The owner answered, a little shakily, “My Creator has placed everything I need to live freely inside this treasure chest.” The friend said slyly, “Really? Can I see?” The owner says, “Sure.” And opens the treasure chest to share the contents with the friend. The friend with greed in his eyes sees great beauty within and begins to place a hand inside to take some of the contents. The owner, excited that someone else sees the beauty within allows the friend their plunder, but with horror in the owner’s eyes begins to see the greed as the friend takes and takes, walking away with the contents of the owner’s precious treasure chest.
The owner sits down, looking at the empty treasure chest, and thinks, “What will I do now? Everything I needed to live freely was inside that treasure chest and now it is gone. I trusted my friend, but I didn’t guard that which I was entrusted. Now everything I need is gone.”
Suddenly, the owner sees a beautiful bright light and The Creator’s voice quietly answers, “My sweet one, I gave you everything you need inside that treasure chest, but you must guard it, protect it and remember that everything you need I will provide and place inside. But I can only fill it with your permission, it is your choice that I provide the things that you need. Would you like me to fill the treasure chest now?”
The owner, thinking logically, compares the promise to the boast of the first friend. “My friend said that I can get everything I need from the world, it is a big world, and my friend has a lot of things that appear to bring happiness, but the Creator says that He can fill the treasure chest back up with everything I need. There is so much more out in the world, I’m not sure the Creator can give me all that I want too. What is He filling it with anyway? I am sure that I can find everything I need in the things that I want and one day I will go back to the Creator to fill up my treasure chest again if I need to. “
So the owner turns to the Creator and says, “Thank you anyway, but I think I will fill the treasure chest on my own.” So the owner begins to fill the chest with pretty things such as trinkets and baubles, candy and truffles. The chest would become filled to over capacity, and could not be closed completely. The owner would return the next day to find that the items in the treasure chest didn’t seem so pretty anymore. A trail of ants invaded one corner where remnants of the candy remained. The trinkets began to look tarnished and the baubles had lost their luster. The owner begins to clean out the treasure chest, throwing away the contents, greedily thinking of the replacement contents to be found. “It will be a treasure hunt,” the owner excitedly thinks.
This process would repeat itself over the years, the owner replacing items that were either taken by others, weren’t really wanted, or met with decay. Until one day, the weary owner realized that none of these things were bringing true happiness. In fact, the efforts of cleaning, adding to, and removing the contents of the treasure chest were quite tiring in themselves. “Why do I need to fill the treasure chest anyway?” The owner would ask. “The Creator gave me this stupid box and I’m not sure why I even need it.” Thinking back to the fulfilling promise that The Creator made and the moments of freedom in the very beginning, the owner angrily shuts the treasure chest, locks it and throws away the key.
Dejected, the owner walks away from the beloved treasure chest to live a life of emptiness. While the owner attempts to find a replacement key, nothing fits perfectly as the original. Feeling completely hopeless one day, the owner walks back to the treasure chest. The rusty hinges feel the impact of a tear as the owner touches the corners, lovingly remembering the joy felt at the beginning. “I can’t fill the treasure chest anymore,” the owner cries, “I threw away the key and cannot find a replacement. I turned my back on the Creator’s offer of filling the treasure chest. What can I do? I might as well give up, there is nothing left for me. Looking up, the owner asks "Creator will you help me?”
All of a sudden, the owner feels the tingles of hope as warmth settles inside. From a distance, a light begins to enter the inner room and the owner hears the quiet voice of The Creator say, “My child, I have waited for you all of these years. The emptiness you feel inside is because you have tried to fill the treasure chest with things which cannot fulfill you. You see, I made this treasure chest perfectly, but only I can fill it with the things that you need to live a full and joyful life. You can try to fill it with the things of this world but they will decay. They will ruin the treasure chest and they will ruin you. The gifts that I give are those that will sustain you in this life and in the life to come. But you must use them AND you must guard them. When you use them I will immediately refill them for you and when you guard them, the enemy cannot take them away from you. But, it is your choice. Would you like me to fill it for you?
Looking down at the lock, the owner replies discouragingly, “but I threw away the key and cannot find a replacement.”
With a tender glance and a beautiful smile, the Creator replies, “My child, I created the key uniquely for you and just as I am the only one to fill this chest perfectly, I am also the only one who can provide the replacement.”
With relief the owner of the treasure chest jumped up and said, “Yes, yes! I accept your free gift! How can I ever thank You?” The Creator replied, “My gift is free, but you must believe, accept and use the gifts of love, joy, hope and peace that I give you. Share them with others and allow me to refill this precious treasure chest with the gifts designed to give you the FREEdom from the bondage of this world. The FREE life I have designed is greater than anything the world can give. I will always provide.
Immediately, the treasure chest was full again, the hinges looked new and freshly oiled and the owner felt the joy that was felt in the beginning as the years of emptiness seemed to disappear. “I will believe, I will trust and I will allow The Creator to fill my heart to be filled again.”
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.
Proverbs 4:23 (The MSG)
Father, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life! Thank You for providing us the love, joy, hope and peace that only You can give, IN THESE WE FIND TRUE FREEDOM. We ask Lord that You fill our hearts as only You can and that You help us to guard that which You have given us. We Love You.
In Jesus' Name